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Bahrain revokes citizenship of 115 people in mass trial

AP  |  Dubai 

A court today revoked the citizenship of 115 people at a mass terrorism trial, sentencing dozens to prison amid a years-long crackdown on all dissent in the island kingdom.

Bahrain's Public Prosecution said the case involved a little-known militant group it identified as the "Zulfiqar Brigades," whose mass arrests authorities previously announced in 2016.

Prosecutors said those accused built and detonated bombs, received weapons training and plotted to kill police officers in Bahrain, an island off the coast of in the

A statement from prosecutors said 53 defendants received life sentences, while dozens of others faced prison time. It said 23 defendants were acquitted. Bahraini officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment for more information.

Bahrain, a nation only some 760 square kilometers (290 square miles) in size, is home to some 1.4 million people. About half are Bahraini citizens, the majority of them Shiite. The island is also home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and a new British naval base.

The island has been ruled since 1783 by the Sunni Al Khalifa family. Hamad, who took the throne in 1999, initially took steps to move the country from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one. The first since 1973 were held in 2002.

However, the island's Shiite majority accused the government of treating them like second-class citizens.

They joined pro-democracy activists in demanding more political freedoms in 2011, as Arab Spring protests swept the wider Saudi and Emirati troops ultimately helped violently put down the demonstrations.

Amid this recent crackdown, local Shiite militant groups have carried out several attacks on security forces. Independent gathering in also has grown more difficult, with the government refusing to accredit two reporters and others while shutting down a

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 18:46 IST
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